Monday, June 5, 2017

Xenomorph Interrupted, or Thoughts Winona Ryder and Alien: Resurrection

Sigourney Weaver returned to her signature franchise in her last appearance as Ripley 8, an alien-human hybrid with heightened strength and acid blood, cloned from Ellen Ripley 200 years after her death on Fury 161 in David Fincher’s Alien 3 (1992) and developed specifically to breed Xenomorphs on a secret lab on a military space ship in  in Alien 4, or Alien: Resurrection (1997).  With a screenplay by Joss Whedon and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet of The City of Lost Children (1995) and Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001), Alien: Resurrection was a stylish and atmospheric sequel with great potential that also introduced the intriguing casting of  Winona Ryder in her first big budget summer action movie.
Winona, more renown for her dramatic roles,  portrayed Analee Call, a spunky mechanic with a secret on the Betty, which comes across like an early, less friendly version of another Joss Whedon spaceship; you can see the roots of Firefly in the crew's flexibility with laws and immediate distrust of authority.  The Betty is transporting bodies in stasis to the secret lab because these are traditional aliens: eggs, slime, facehuggers, and acid blood.  Also unlike the more modern and sleek looking Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2016) this is a traditional Alien setting; a gritty, industrial spaceship full of steam vents and catwalks.  While Sigourney Weaver was able to carry the movie on the strength of her portrayals in the previous 3 movies, Winona Ryder was hampered by shaky dialogue, an inconsistent plot and a weak second half.
With one of my favorite actors, Brad Dourif from Deadwood and Child's Play (1988), though you probably know him best as Grima Wormtongue.  Also Ron Pearlman and Michael Wincott, Top Dollar in The Crow (1994) and more recently, Dr. Osmund in Ghost in the Shell (2017).  Watch out for French actor Dominique Pinon, who is arguably most famous in America for his role as the skinhead Le Curé in Diva (1981, also his big screen debut) as Vriess, the mechanic on the Betty.
The basketball scene was allegedly shot in one take, but you know what actors are like, they love to exaggerate. 








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